What to Do When You Get Admission

Congrats! Now you have the admission message or letter you were waiting for. After all the celebrations though, it is the beginning of yet another round of many things to be done before you reach your ultimate aim: enrolling for the program you desire. So, what things come next? Well, you have to get the I-20 form and the visa. The approximate sequence of what you have to do to get these two crucial documents is as follows:

Admission in US for MS1. Read the letter or email carefully. If you have to send an acceptance of the offer do it promptly. Even if you have multiple offers it makes sense to accept more than one when there is no offer of funding.

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All About the I-20

I-20The I-20: What It Is and What It Contains

Once you have been admitted by an American university, your university will send you an I-20 to enable you to enter the U.S. on an F-1 (student) visa. The I-20 is a certificate of non-immigrant eligibility i.e. it certifies that you are eligible to travel to the United States as a student and are not traveling as an immigrant. This document, sometimes referred to as a DS-2019, is usually sent to you by the admissions office in your university.

The I-20 certifies that you have enough financial resources to attend school and pay for your living expenses while attending school without resorting to illegal employment or relying on public funds. For this reason, the I-20 states:

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Applying for Spring (Jan) 2014 – A Step-By-Step Explanation

If you are applying for spring, here’s one last call to check the timeline for applications – though university deadlines for spring go up to December, the last phase of deadlines is drawing to a close (see deadlines for spring 2014 for more details). For those late universities there are still a number of things you need to get done right away! Note that the timeline below is geared to the earliest universities (which have their deadlines in June). However, the steps given below all need to be taken for all universities no matter what their deadlines are. So, hurry and get into action, there’s no time to lose.

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GRE Prep: Verbal Study Plan Overview

Here from Dilip Oak’s Academy are the GRE Prep highlights. As the graphic above indicates the basic plan for verbal preparation for the GRE is as follows:

  • at least 3-5 months before your GRE, begin vocabulary preparation and preliminary reading practice
  • 2 months before your GRE, begin going through the practice material
  • 1 month before your GRE, begin your practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTS)

This is explained below: As you can see there are four aspects of preparation that you have to cover:

  1. Vocabulary Learning and Revision
  2. Preliminary Reading Practice
  3. Covering the Practice Material
  4. Practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTs)

Each of the sections below gives you a brief idea of how to handle one aspect of preparation. Each section also contains links (in red) which give you further important details about the aspect of preparation that it deals with. Before you read through the sections below read through the post on ‘some principles’ for GRE Preparation. This will give you important guidelines on how to work through the material described in each of the sections.

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Recommendation Letters – Part 2: Ingredients of a Good Recommendation Letter

What Recommendation Letters should Cover

Recommendation letters should cover the following points (also see the links to great sample recos at the end of this post):

  • How long the recommender has known you and in what capacity (teacher, seminar or project guide, practical supervisor, project leader etc.)
  • His or her assessment of your academic performance (relative rank etc.), intellectual abilities, work habits and character
  • Your special achievements – especially in projects or in papers presented
  • Your communication skills – how well you were able to present your seminars
  • Your social skills – ability to work well with others, leadership qualities
  • Some background about the recommender – this is useful in the case of professors whose work in a field might be good but little known outside India; things to highlight include area of work, achievements in that area (papers published, awards etc.), prominent places worked in, length of experience and so on

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Applying for Transcripts from Pune University

In Pune University the process of applying for transcripts is as follows:

  1. Download the transcript form from the website of Pune University
  2. Fill up the form and submit the form in person at the transcripts department – this is located on university campus. Do not forget to carry original mark sheets if required for verification. In case you are asked to submit mark sheets, submit photocopies not originals.
  3. Pay the required fees immediately at Bank of Maharashtra counter located on the university campus. Continue reading

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Types of Transcripts – and Why you Need Them

Some universities accept only university transcripts; others accept college transcripts or even an attested mark sheet. Some universities require you to submit 2 transcripts. It is very important that you read the American university requirements carefully before applying. Make sure you do not send them the wrong document type as it will delay the admission process.
These are issued by the university your college is affiliated to e.g. M.I.T. College in Pune is affiliated to Pune University. If you are a student of that college and the American university you are applying to requires university transcripts, you should get transcripts from Pune University.

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The University Transcript: What Exactly is It and Why is It Important?

The transcript is an official summary of your academic performance and progress to date. It is one of the key documents you have to submit when you are applying for admission to a doctoral or master’s program of studies in an American college or university (the others are the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, a resume and of course your GRE and TOEFL scores). In order for the transcript to be acceptable to American universities as an official document, it must conform to the following specifications – it should be:

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The University Transcript: A Comprehensive Description of the Details Included

Your transcript should contain the following:

  • a ‘bona fide certificate’ containing:
    • your name
    • the name of the college where you studied
    • the name of the course you studied
    • the duration for which you were at the university/college and date of completion of the course
    the examination scheme which, includes details such as:
    • whether all subjects are compulsory or whether there are elective subjects, a project etc.
    • the number of semesters in the course and the duration of each semester
    • the duration of each lecture
    • the minimum marks required to pass in a subject
    • the maximum number of grace marks that may be given so that a student may pass or obtain a higher class
    • the score scheme used: grade point average (GPA) or aggregate percentage/class system

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